The Growbags’ Guide to the World Cup

What has intrigued me most about the World Cup (yes, completely hooked now) is how each team has a personality that reflects their nationality. Wildly talented and colourful South Americans, not too fussy about etiquette on the field, small but fiercely determined Japanese, ice cool Swedes (worrying this…..especially if it goes to a penalty shoot out). Plants too, often reflect the character of their country of origin. Take one of my all time favourite plants chocolate cosmos Cosmos atrosanguineus whose sultry, dusky red, Bournville scented flowers are the very essence of their native country of Mexico, which is also...

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Gifts that grow on you – or not!

What is a garden exactly? Can you have a ‘garden’ without a human element? You perhaps know that the etymology of the word is ‘enclosure’ (Middle English from Anglo-French and Old High German), but an enclosure of what?  One thing for sure is that it is a heck of a lot more than just plants.  There are stories everywhere, layer upon layer, about the provenance of the plants, and they add immeasurably to the pleasure of anyone deeply involved in the creation of their outdoor space. You do usually remember who gave you what. I will certainly remember that...

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Growbags batten down the hatches

Yikes, just when we thought we’d got away with it, the weather went all Winter Olympics on us. So how far were you prepared to go to protect those borderline shrubs which you were just congratulating yourself on having nursed through the worst of the winter? In my case it was quite far; I have a penchant for subtropical plants and this week had to activate the ‘Emergency Procedures Plan’.  I did this alphabetically in order of a plant’s nationality, so the Chileans came first and into the glasshouse come pots of Crinodendron hookerianum (Chilean lantern tree, curious deep red waxy bells...

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To plant, perchance to dream

  I have been in quarantine for a couple of weeks now with an impressively wheezy chest and have had to experience Christmas and New Year vicariously through E and C’s slightly competitive WhatsApp messages ‘We had 53 people to lunch on Christmas Day and danced till 2 am’ (E) ‘ it’s so hot here on Cyprus we spent Christmas Day on sun loungers round the pool’ (C) Grrrrrrr – they didn’t seem the least bit interested when I told them how handy my new Christmas hot water bottle cover had come in. During a bout of paracetamol fuelled...

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